Spotlight of the Week: Michael Tinker Tierney

Michael Tinker Tierney plays in three groups – acoustic rock band Tinker Boys, Celtic band Reilly, and mash-up metal band Beatallica. Reilly just released a new album titled “Durty Pool” while Beatallica’s recent record “The Devolver Album” dropped in November.

ME: To start, how did you get involved with Wisconsin Music Ventures?

MICHAEL: I found out about them through my girlfriend, because she was the one who actually discovered them online and said “hey, this looks like something that could be of interest.” I ended up meeting Allison, and it turns out that she knows one of my old buddies who I used to play in Beatallica with – Mike Brandenburg. It’s been about 15-16 months and that’s the short of it, really.

ME: Right on! So I was looking at your page and I know that you do a wide range of covers in your bands. What does your original music look like?

MICHAEL: Which band are we talking about? (laughs)

ME: Well, when I saw you playing at the Corners at Brookfield last summer, you were just playing solo. But I didn’t know that you had different iterations!

MICHAEL: So what you saw there, I do both covers and originals. Like a lot of musicians in my day, you write hundreds of songs and they work in and out of your set depending on the event. On that night I know I did everything off of my solo acoustic record, which came out last May. In regard to Reilly – the Celtic band that I’m in – we just put out an album two weeks ago, and it’s our fifth record. We have plenty of originals there; that album is called “Durty Pool” (my solo album is called “Due Season”). As far as Beatallica goes, that band also has five albums, and there’s original music that comes with that besides the metal-comedy mash-ups. Every band that I’m in has original music, but depending on the event, there may be more of that.

ME: Gotcha. That Celtic stuff is good to get down to this time of year.

MICHAEL: Our Reilly record was the number one album in rotation on WMSE for the last couple weeks, so that’s cool. And it’s getting other airplay not only statewide but nationally on some other Celtic programs.

ME: My next question is, what’s the most interesting crowd interaction you’ve had?

MICHAEL: Hmm, let’s see…I’ll try to go band by band. For Beatallica, it was unfortunate but interesting. The first time we started going overseas to Europe, we did start getting a lot of backlash in some countries about being American, with what was going on in the world at the time. Trying to handle some of that literally while you’re trying to play a show as just a guy in a band…I’m not trying to have “Meet the Press” (laughs). That wasn’t just one interaction; it was multiple over several years. So we’d try to handle that tactfully, but then having some people in Poland coming up to you and saying “wow, I’m glad that we actually talked about this” was cool even if we didn’t always agree on things. As far as Reilly, the most interesting thing at a show was probably last Saturday; people bailing into the merch booth and dudes storming the stage and taking their shirts off…stuff like that. Welcome to March (laughs).

ME: Was that at the Shamrock Shuffle?

MICHAEL: No, we’ve done that event before but this one was something called the Celtic Crawl.

ME: You’ll get some wild cards with those bar crawls for sure.

MICHAEL: Oh yeah. We were about two minutes away from being done and everything started literally crashing down (laughs).

ME: So I know that you do a lot of Milwaukee festivals, and that season is upon us; let’s hope that COVID cases keep dwindling. That said, what would you say is your favorite cultural festival to play?

MICHAEL: I’ve always really liked Bastille days. Whether it’s been with Reilly or Tinker Boys, we’ve always had a really good time there. Reilly’s a mainstay at Milwaukee Irish Fest, of course. We’ve done some Harley Fest events at different dealerships for all three of my bands and those have always been great. Beatallica’s going to do House of Harley and open up their season on Memorial Day weekend Saturday. That should be a cool event.

ME: Good choices! My last question for you is, what are you working on over the next couple months?

MICHAEL: On the Beatallica side, we were initially supposed to have been gone in February but then there was that COVID spike so we nixed a west coast tour and decided to wait. So in May, we’re doing the east US and eastern Canada, basically going from here out to Quebec and down through New York and then through the Great Lakes. That’s about three weeks. Then we’re about to announce some other US dates for July, and then we’re working on about four weeks going out from here to the southwest and up through California and back through Colorado. As far as Reilly goes, our season began on February 26th and it’s going through the end of this week; we have three shows on St. Patrick’s Day alone. I’m playing from 9 in the morning till I get home at about 2:30AM. But Reilly plays all year long, so we have other things planned outside of March. July and August are always busy for Reilly too. The Tinker Boys stuff is kind of scattered in between all that. We have gigs here and there. If one thing’s not going on, something else is going on (laughs).

Visit Tinker Boys’ web page here.

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